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Mohamed Mansaray, 41, of Springfield, Pennsylvania was sentenced in November to 10 years in prison for tax crimes involving fraud and identity theft. Mansaray’s business, Medman’s Financial Services, which provided tax preparation services in Philadelphia, filed multiple false income tax returns prior to his conviction. The underlying scheme involved purchasing the stolen identities of more than 300 foster children, information which Mansaray then used to claim false dependents on clients’ tax returns, charging a fee as high as $800 for the illegal service. Gebah Kamara, who sold the identities to Mansaray for compensation of up to $300 per identity on accepted returns, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, or two and a half years, for his role in the scheme.
On November 6, 2017, Mansaray was sentenced to 10 years in prison by United States District Court Judge Harvey Bartle, III.
Mansaray pleaded guilty to various criminal charges during the years preceding his sentencing. His legal troubles began in May 2013, when Mansaray was charged with (1) aiding and abetting the preparation of false federal income tax returns, and (2) conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Roughly one year later, in July 2014, Mansaray pleaded guilty to both charges.
Later, in April 2016, Mansaray was charged with “numerous additional counts of aiding and abetting the preparation of false federal income tax returns, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft,” causing revocation of his bail the following month. Once again, he pleaded guilty approximately one year after being charged, bringing the timeline to March 2017.
Last month, Judge Bartle handed down the 120-month prison sentence. The Court additionally ordered that Mansaray pay restitution to remunerate the IRS for losses resulting from the false tax returns.
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Mansaray “and his co-conspirators, other tax preparers at Medman’s, obtained stolen personal identity information of foster children and used that information as fraudulent dependents on numerous income tax returns prepared for Philadelphia clients.”
To understand the motivation for attempting this ill-advised scheme, some background in tax law is necessary. Taxpayers can save as much as $4,050 by claiming dependents, such as children or elderly relatives, on their personal income tax returns. These dependents are called “qualifying children” or “qualifying relatives” and must meet several IRS criteria, including but not limited to age and residency requirements, in order to receive this status. If the child or relative satisfies IRS criteria, the taxpayer can generally claim an exemption for the dependent. (This should not be confused with the related but separate Child Tax Credit, which enables the taxpayer to save as much as $1,000 per qualifying child, again subject to IRS eligibility criteria. Claiming a dependent exemption will lower your taxable income, whereas claiming the Child Tax Credit will lower your tax liability, or how much you owe.)
Of course, like any information or document submitted to the IRS, the underlying tax return must be truthful and accurate. Needless to say, the Internal Revenue Code prohibits any situation where a taxpayer is selling, purchasing, or otherwise using stolen personal information for the purpose of fraudulently claiming dependents for whom the taxpayer does not actually provide financial support. (Moreover, momentarily setting aside any tax law considerations, identity theft is a serious charge in its own right, regardless of whether the stolen data is a credit card number, a Social Security number, a personal address, a bank account, or any other piece of sensitive information.)
Submitting false or fraudulent tax returns is a serious offense in direct violation of the U.S. Tax Code. Alleged commission of related offenses, such as identity theft or wire fraud, will further compound the tax charges and may result in substantial penalty enhancements. If you or one of your family members is under investigation for tax evasion by the IRS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or other enforcement agencies, it is crucial that you immediately discuss your situation with a highly experienced criminal tax defense attorney.
The Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing is a Southern California tax law firm with offices located throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Our respected team includes tax evasion attorneys, IRS tax audit attorneys, defense attorneys for tax preparers, and other experienced tax and accounting professionals, enabling us to execute aggressive, hard-hitting litigation strategies in a variety of complex, high-stakes legal scenarios.
It may still be possible to avoid or lessen the consequences you face for noncompliance with domestic or international tax laws. However, time is of the essence. Do not delay another moment if you are facing an IRS tax audit, egg shell audit, or IRS criminal investigation. To book a reduced-rate tax consultation, contact the Tax Law Office of David W. Klasing online, or call today at (800) 681-1295.
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